Friday, May 11, 2007

Chinese History with Chinese Characteristics

As I was digging through the piles of paper in my bedroom, I came across a list of the "Century's 20 Top Historic Events in China" I once asked a student to copy for me. She had to study the list for a class, and I found it interesting for the heavy Communist Party influence that would go unnoticed by Chinese students who have never heard recent Chinese history from any other perspective. It's full of great Marxist vocabulary like "reactionary," "feudalist society," and "bourgeois," and references to foreign countries include words like "aggressive" and "humiliation for China." Though "the convening of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee in late 1978" makes the list, certain major events are conspicuously absent. Mao is not mentioned after 1945, and the only reference to the Cultural Revolution is "the downfall of the 'Gang of Four' and the end of the 'Cultural Revolution' in 1976 marked a new development stage for China." An online version of the list can be found here.

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